Early Struggles Too Much to Overcome Against Columbus State

AMERICUS - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team shot 25 percent from the floor and trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half on Monday against Columbus State in the Storm Dome, digging a hole too deep to escape and falling to the Cougars, 64-55.

The Hurricanes, who have lost six of their last seven games, went ice cold from the floor for almost eight minutes during the first half. Milos Kleut connected on a jumper for GSW to trim the CSU lead to two (10-8) with 14:26 remaining until halftime. Over the ensuing seven-plus minutes GSW managed just one basket, a 3-pointer by Evan Mobley. The Hurricanes scored once on 12 possessions, yet trailed by a manageable 12 points, six minutes before the break.

GSW chipped away and a Jamon Hawkins 3-point shot at the buzzer made the margin eight points (29-21) at the half.

Just as he ended the first, Hawkins started the second stanza with a 3-pointer and the Columbus State lead was five points (29-24).

Mobley brought the 'Canes within three at 33-30 when he connected on pair of free throws with 16:40 remaining.

Columbus State stretched the lead back to nine (41-32) before the Hurricanes made another run. GSW outscored the Cougars 12-6 behind a pair of Mobley 3-pointers and a Marlon Rivera 3-point play.

But CSU pushed its lead back to 11 (57-46) after a Steve Peterson layup with 7:17 left. Again, the 'Canes had an answer and pulled within six points (59-53) with 4:04 to go aided by four missed free throws and two turnovers by the Cougars. That's as close as GSW would get the rest of the way. A pair of turnovers and missed 3-point shots brought the Hurricane rally to a halt and gave the Cougars their first road PBC win of the season.

GSW finished the game shooting 40.5 percent from the floor. CSU ended at 44.2 percent. The Cougars outrebounded GSW, 36-30, and held a 16-point advantage (36-20) in points in the paint.

Milos Kleut led the Blue & Gold with 17 points and seven rebounds. Marlon Rivera added 13 points, while Hawkins and Mobley scored 12 apiece. For Hawkins, it was a career high. Rivera dished out 10 of GSW's 12 assists as well. It marked the first time in over three years that the Hurricanes had a player dish out 10 assists. Damayrius Adside tallied 10 against Puerto Rico-Cayey on Nov. 15, 2008. Ironically enough, Rivera is a native of Puerto Rico, hailing from Rio Piedras.

Paul Darkwa topped all scorers with 18 points for Columbus State (13-8, 8-4 PBC). Darkwa completed a double-double with 13 rebounds. Peterson chipped in 13 and Idell Bell added 12.

The Hurricanes return to action on Saturday for GSW Homecoming against Montevallo at 7:30 p.m. in the Storm Dome.